by sarAdora ~~~~~~~~~~
The afternoon with Mama Batali went better than either woman had expected. Francesca had entered the Godfather's house determined; she wasn't going to be intimidated by the older woman. Giancarlo's mother surprised Francesca, embracing her with unmistakable warmth.
"I'm so glad you and my Gianni have found each other," she told her future daughter-in-law as she served biscotti and caffè. "You will be good for him."
"I'm not ready to get married," Francesca told the older woman with blunt honesty. "I just graduated college; I want to live a little before I settle down."
"And what does Gianni think of this idea?" Mama Batali asked, secretly delighted that her son couldn't have this spirited girl just because he wanted her.
"Uh... well..." Francesca stumbled. "He's... he thinks we're going to be married anyway and... and..."
"And you didn't tell him otherwise, did you?" his astute mother asked.
"No. No, I didn't," the younger woman replied, raising her chin a little.
Mama Batali laughed and clapped her hands in glee.
Francesca stared at her, assuming the woman didn't want her to marry her son after all.
"Don't get me wrong, ragazza dolce sweet girl," Mama Batali rushed to assure Francesca and moved to her side, taking hold of her hand. "I want you to marry my son but I do not want you to give in to every demand he makes just because he makes them. A woman should respect her husband's wishes, of course," she smiled. "But a little spirit in a marriage makes the man so much more..." she paused, thinking of the right word. "So much more... attentive," she finished with a flourish. "A woman should be a helpmate but not a doormat. Every thought that is a man's thought does not have to be his wife's opinion. She should have opinions of her own. It makes for a... a... more lively relationship, si? Capite? Do you understand?
"Si," Francesca nodded in understanding. "And this is how it was with you and Giancarlos's father?"
"It was that and more," the older woman sighed, her smile lighting her face as she thought of her late husband. "He was everything a man should be and... Enough of that," she said with firm resolve, keeping her memories to herself. "Let us talk of you and my Gianni."
"I really do not want to be married," Francesca said again. "I'm too young. I want to see things, do things. I'm not ready to be tied down."
"Tied down?" Mama Batali queried. "I think... what you should do... if I were you," she clarified. "I would make Giancarlo court you and woo you and be crazed until he can make you his. Si?" Her eyes twinkled, her face filled with mischief and mirth as she cupped Francesca's chin to look directly into her eyes. "Men think they can have what they want just because it's for the taking. Make my son want you so badly that he will do anything to please you and make you happy. Who knows?" she pondered further, rising to her feet to end their meeting. "He might discover life is nothing without you and you, Francesca, may well discover that life with Giancarlo Ruggiero Batali is worth the having."
When Francesca stepped back into the limo that would take her home, she was surprised to see Giancarlo in the backseat waiting for her. She said nothing as she slid in beside him, his mother's words very fresh in her mind. Make him want you, she had said. Make him so crazy to have you, he will do anything to please you. She turned and smiled at the man who thought she would marry him just because he said he would.
"Francesca, bella," Gianni murmured, pulling her into his arms. "Bacilo! Kiss me!" he demanded, lowering his mouth to hers.
She kissed him... a light brush of her lips against his, her hands on his chest to keep him from getting too close.
"Ancora! Again!" he said firmly and waited for her to kiss him but she didn't.
"Bacilo! Kiss me!" he growled as he pressed his mouth against hers, his tongue demanding entrance between her lips.
She yielded for one reason only; his arms held her in a tight embrace while his mouth took possession of hers. Francesca was embarrassingly aware that she enjoyed his kisses but she had no intention of telling him that she did. She wanted to be hard to get; hard to win over, not another one of the many conquests she was sure he had. If he thinks I'm eager for his attention and excited about marrying him...
"You don't like my kisses, bambina?" he asked as he lifted his head, his eyes twinkling at her pinked complexion, his arms still holding her close.
"I think we have to get to know each other better before... before... you kiss me any time you want to," she replied, a little breathless from his embrace.
"We spent the night together, do you remember?" he asked rather smugly she thought. "Do we need to know each other better than that?"
"You're a pig," she said softly, pulling away from him. "We didn't... you didn't touch me. I mean..." she paused, remembering he *had* touched her and intimately at that... he had spanked her bare bottom and...
His low chuckle irritated her, confirming his memory of their night together. "Bambina," he smiled, pulling her back into his arms. "You're going to marry me and if I want to kiss you, I'll kiss you. Capisca? Understand?"
"You can *not* kiss me just because you want to!" she said, pushing him away again.
"Yes, I can," her future husband laughed and showed her that he could. When he let her up for air, he brushed his lips over her face with great tenderness. "Voglio vederti stasera. I want to see you tonight, he murmured. "I'll pick you up at 8. Wear a dress."
"Don't have any," she whispered, her eyes on his mouth.
"Bambina..." he arched a brow.
"Don't have any," she repeated, pulling back from his arms. "You tore my party dress and I returned the one you bought. I..."
"I know you did," he growled low. "And I should spank you for throwing my gift back in my face. It is not polite to return a gift from the Godfather!" he said firmly and with just a hint of arrogance.
"Godfather?" she spat with contempt and pushed him away. "Am I just another puttana whore accepting gifts because you forced your company on me or am I your future wife? Make up your mind, Padre Del Dio! Godfather*!"
The ten seconds of silence that followed her outburst might as well have been an hour, the only sound a shocked and hushed breath from Giancarlo's driver who had looked up when he heard Francesca yell at his boss. He quickly averted his eyes when he saw the look of rage that transformed the Godfather from lover to angry man.
Francesca also saw the transformation and protested in alarm. "Don't you dare spank me for speaking the truth! Don't you dare lay a hand on me when you're angry. Don't you dare..."
"Oso I dare," the words were spoken quietly as Giancarlo got his temper under control and with no effort, turned Francesca over his lap and raised her skirt, the only one she professed to own. For modesty's sake, he left her panties on, not that the flimsy covering offered any protection from his large and heavy hand.
"You are *not* a puttana, whore" he said with a calmness he didn't feel. "You are not to use that word again!" he added, each word punctuated by a sharp swat. "You *are* my future wife! And," he fought to keep his voice low as he held the yelling, squirming, wiggling, cursing woman he planned to marry while he lit a fire in her bottom. "You will wear a dress when I tell you to wear a dress and you will *never* return any gift I give you again!"
Her screams faded to sobs as she gasped for breath. His hand stilled and pressed into her heated bottom cheeks while he forced himself to remain calm. And then he picked her up, her body limp against his chest. The hand that blistered her bottom tenderly stroked her hair, his lips brushing the side of her tear streaked face.
"I hate you," she sniffed when she could speak. "And I'm not marrying you."
"You *are* going to marry me," he said with the confidence of a man used to getting his own way. "And you're having dinner with me, tonight," he murmured as he wiped tears from her face. "And you *will* wear a dress."
"I will wear what I want to wear," she said indignantly, her hand reaching back to rub her heated bottom.
He pulled her hand to his mouth, kissed the palm and nuzzled her neck, secretly pleased that she had all but admitted she would dine with him that evening. "Do you want Angelina to know that you openly defy me?" he whispered. "She would be disappointed that she didn't do her duty by you, bambina. She would want you to please me."
It was true; Angelina would be disappointed and Francesca loved her adopted mother. She would never intentionally disappoint her, but she had no such feelings for this brute that didn't think twice about blistering her bottom.
"You cannot spank me whenever you do not like what I say," she told him, her bravado making him smile.
"Yes, I can," he murmured as he bent his head to kiss her. "And I will," he promised when he lifted his head. "If you defy me, I will light a fire in your bottom."
"I will not..." She bit her lip, unwilling to get into a shouting match. There was no doubt she would lose and her bottom would pay the price. Keeping her thoughts to herself, she remained quiet the rest of the way home. When they arrived at her apartment house, Giancarlo escorted her to the door and reminded her to be ready when he came for her later that evening.
Francesca said nothing and when she opened the door, pushed him back and slammed it in his face.
Giancarlo laughed at her defiance. His feisty future wife already had a sore bottom and the evening ahead promised to be an interesting one.